Society Leaders Conference: The Law as America’s Teacher

April 21-23, 2023
Wilmington, DE

What Does American Law Have to Teach Us?

Laws act as the conscience of an ordered, self-governing society. They are guiding lights intended to protect individuals from Leviathan but also the state of nature, and are necessary for a free society that values ordered liberty. But do changes in law shift the norms and mores of society, or is it the other way around? In other words, can we “legislate morality?” The law has a pedagogical function that serves to make us more moral beings, but where should the balance between individual freedom and the regulation of moral culture through the law be struck?

Join ISI in Wilmington, Delaware, from April 21st to 23rd to explore what the American legal system seeks to teach us. Who “counts” as a person worthy of the protections of law? What is the justification for our political order? What obligations are strengthened by law, and how does the moral sense of our culture find expression in our legal codes? Hear from leading scholars and political philosophers as you seek answers to these questions.

Registrations are limited to student leaders of ISI societies. Students who attend the conference will also receive a complimentary subscription of First Things magazine after attending the conference, as well as a discount code for members of their society.  All expenses are paid! Reach out to Tom Sarrouf at with any questions or concerns.

Dr. Jason Hill

Jason D. Hill is a professor of philosophy at DePaul University and the author of five books: These include, What Do White Americans Owe Black People: Racial Justice in the Age of Post-Oppression,  and the bestselling, We Have Overcome: An Immigrant’s Letter to the American People​. Other books include: Becoming a Cosmopolitan: What It Means to Be a Human Being in the New MillenniumCivil Disobedience and the Politics of Identity: When We Should Not Get Along, and Beyond Blood Identities: Post-humanity in the Twenty First Century. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and has been a professional writer and book author for over thirty years. He is a specialist in ethics, political philosophy, moral psychology, American politics, and foreign policy. He has been published in major magazines including The FederalistThe American MindThe American ThinkerCommentary MagazineSpiked Magazine, and Salon. He is also a contributor to The Hill. His poetry has been published in several journals.

From 2010-2012, a consortium of four universities in England held a series of conferences devoted to Dr. Hill’s post-human cosmopolitanism and adopted the moral vision contained therein as part of their mission statements. His scholarly articles have been published in anthologies and journals in Germany, the Czech Republic and The Netherlands. He has been interviewed regularly in various media outlets, including NBC’s Today showThe Daily Caller ShowFox NewsFox Business, Bill O’Reilly’s NO Spin NewsNPR, and several other mainstream media. He is deeply committed to Moral Foundationalism, Moral Universalism and the Absolutism of Reason.
Jason came to the United States at the age of twenty from Jamaica and has thrived beyond his wildest dreams. He remains incredibly grateful to this country for its bountiful opportunities.​
Josh Hammer

Josh Hammer is the Newsweek opinion editor, a research fellow at the Edmund Burke Foundation, a syndicated columnist, and counsel and policy advisor for the Internet Accountability Project. He is also the host of “The Josh Hammer Show,” a Newsweek podcast, and co-hosts the Edmund Burke Foundation’s “NatCon Squad” podcast.

A graduate of Duke University and the University of Chicago Law School, Josh has worked at Kirkland & Ellis LLP and clerked for Judge James C. Ho of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He is a former John Marshall Fellow with the Claremont Institute and former fellow with the James Wilson Institute, as well as a campus speaker through Young America’s Foundation, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, and the Federalist Society.

In addition to Newsweek, Josh has been published by National Affairs, American Affairs, National Review, First Things, City Journal, Public Discourse, Tablet Magazine, Compact Magazine, Deseret Magazine, Law & Liberty, Fortune, Fox Business, the Daily Mail, the New York Post, the Los Angeles Times, The American Conservative, The European Conservative, The American Mind, The American Spectator, The National Interest, The Spectator, American Greatness, Chronicles Magazine, The Daily Caller, and other leading publications. Josh has also had formal constitutional scholarship published by the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy and the University of St. Thomas Law Journal.

Josh Craddock

Josh Craddock is an affiliated scholar with the James Wilson Institute on Natural Rights and the American Founding.

He graduated magna cum laude from the Harvard Law School, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy. He later clerked for the Honorable Chief Judge Timothy M. Tymkovich of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Prior to law school, Josh managed advocacy teams for non-profit organizations at the United Nations and participated in negotiations for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Josh’s writing has appeared in the Washington Post, NewsweekNational ReviewFirst ThingsPublic DiscourseThe Stream, and Providence Magazine. His academic writing has been published in various law reviews and research journals. He has spoken on hundreds of public platforms, including for many civic and charitable organizations.

Hadley Arkes

Hadley Arkes has been a member of the Amherst College faculty since 1966, and since 1987 he has been the Edward Ney Professor of Jurisprudence. Since 2016, he has assumed emeritus status. He has written five books with Princeton University Press: Bureaucracy, the Marshall Plan and the National Interest (1972), The Philosopher in the City (1981), First Things (1986), Beyond the Constitution (1990), and The Return of George Sutherland (1994). But his most recent books have been with Cambridge University Press, including Natural Rights and the Right to Choose (2002), and Constitutional Illusions and Anchoring Truths: The Touchstone of the Natural Law (2010). His articles have appeared in professional journals, but apart from his writing in more scholarly formats, he has become known to a wider audience through his writings in the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, and National Review. He has been a contributor also to First Things, a journal that took its name from his book of that title. For eight years he wrote a column for Crisis magazine under the title of “Lifewatch” and he has carried over that concern as one of the band of friends who formed the new web journal The Catholic Thing.

He was the main advocate, and architect, of the bill that became known as the Born-Alive Infants’ Protection Act. The account of his experience, in moving the bill through Congress, is contained as an epilogue or memoir in his book, Natural Rights & the Right to Choose. Arkes first prepared his proposal as part of the debating kit assembled for the first George Bush in 1988. The purpose of that proposal was to offer the “most modest first step” of all in legislating on abortion, and opening a conversation even with people who called themselves “pro-choice.” Professor Arkes proposed to begin simply by preserving the life of a child who survived an abortion–contrary to the holding of one federal judge, that such a child was not protected by the laws. Professor Arkes led the testimony on the bill before the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House in July 2000, then again in July 2001. The legislative calendar was upended in the aftermath of September 11th, but in March 2002, the bill was brought to the floor of the House, where it passed unanimously. To  the surprise of Professor Arkes, the bill was brought to the floor of the Senate on July 18 by the Deputy Majority Leader, Harry Reid, and passed in the same way. On August 5, President Bush signed the bill into law with Professor Arkes in attendance.

Professor Arkes has been the founder, at Amherst, of the Committee for the American Founding, a group of alumni and students seeking to preserve, at Amherst, the doctrines of  “natural rights” taught by the American Founders and Lincoln. That interest has been carried over now to the founding of a new center for the jurisprudence of natural law, in Washington, D.C.: the James Wilson Institute on Natural Rights and the American Founding, named for one of the premier minds among the American Founders.

Michael Farris

Michael Farris is counselor to the CEO and president of Alliance Defending Freedom. Drawing on his experience as the former CEO, Farris provides strategic analysis and advice to ADF’s CEO on a broad range of issues, with special emphasis on parental rights and international issues.

Before joining ADF, Farris was founding president of both the Home School Legal Defense Association (1983) and Patrick Henry College (2000) and continues to serve as chairman of the board of HSLDA and chancellor emeritus of PHC.

He graduated from Western Washington State College magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in political science, followed by a Juris Doctor from Gonzaga University (with honors). He also earned an LL.M. in public international law (with honors) from the University of London.

Farris has specialized in constitutional appellate litigation. In that capacity, he has argued before the appellate courts of 13 states, eight federal circuit courts of appeal, and the U.S. Supreme Court, where in 2018 he successfully argued NIFLA v. Becerra, resulting in a free speech victory for California’s pro-life pregnancy centers.

Farris has testified many times before both the House and Senate. He was an executive committee member of the Coalition for the Free Exercise of Religion that successfully lobbied Congress for the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. He also has substantial experience in international religious freedom advocacy.

Farris is the author of over 15 books, as well as law review and other scholarly and popular articles. He and his wife, Vickie, have 10 children and many grandchildren.

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